DANCING on ice contestant Amy Tinkler has been named the new favourite to win the show after receiving a good score on Sunday night.

The Olympic bronze medallist, born in Bishop Auckland, replaced injured celeb Denise Van Outen last week, and reveals she is excited for her next show.

As the retired gymnast prepares for her week two performance of the show, she tells The Northern Echo what her journey has been like so far.

She said: “I’m excited and a little bit nervous, this is the first time I’ve only had a week to get ready for a performance, so I learnt my new programme on Monday, had Tuesday off to rest, then yesterday we ran it through full for the first time, and we’ve got two days before proper rehearsals start.

“It’s really intense - I don’t know how to describe it but I’m really excited, and I think everyone is going to really enjoy our performance on Sunday, because I’ve really had fun learning it.

“Just getting out there and performing and having that opportunity was like a dream come true."

For her first performance on musical week she skated to Fame, with American skating partner Joe Johnson.

“As far as the judges scores, me and Joe really wanted to focus on the left side of the panel [Ashleigh and John].

“My performance side is my strongest side, and that’s obviously what they’re there for, so we really wanted to focus on that and were really happy with that side of things.

The Northern Echo: Amy Tinkler takes to the ice, replacing Denise Van Outen Picture: ITVAmy Tinkler takes to the ice, replacing Denise Van Outen Picture: ITV

“As far as Jayne’s score, she gave us the lowest score and we completely agree with her, the thing is it was an awkward programme to put together because the judges challenge took up such a large amount of time, and we only had one minute twenty to fit in lifts, dance, skating and everything else, so it didn’t leave much time left.

“We completely took on board everything the judges said, and this week you will definitely see a lot of skating.”

The 21-year-old, who was Team GB’s youngest medallist at the Rio Olympics in 2016, recently discussed her traumatic experiences as a gymnast under British gymnastics, an experience which resulted in the athlete seeking counselling.

The athlete hasn’t allowed her previous struggles to hold her back from taking to the ice, and she has enjoyed having fun training with the American skater.

She said: “I feel very lucky to have Joe as my partner because we have so much fun together, so even the hard days of training don’t feel that hard because we have such a laugh together.

“Joe is literally like a brother to me and it’s been really nice to have a partner who understands me - we get on so well, I’ll miss him so much after the show.

“The whole of the cast this year are so amazing, we’re just like one big family, and apart from the fact we can’t mix, it feels like we’ve known each other for years - it’s a bit weird how close we’ve all got in such a short space of time without actually having contact with each other.”

Although gymnastics appears effortless for the medallist, she said it was still tricky getting to grips with the ice.

The Northern Echo: The gymnast's skating partner American professional skater Joe Johnson Picture: ITVThe gymnast's skating partner American professional skater Joe Johnson Picture: ITV

“When it’s icy outside I can barely walk down the street without falling over, so getting used to that at first took a while,” she said.

“Leading into competitions, I have in the past had to change things around a week before, but I’ve never had to learn a brand-new routine a week before a competition, so that for me and every other person on the cast is very new.

“After the competition, I think I’ll be down at the ice rink a lot. It’s become my life and we’re in the rink everyday – I couldn’t imagine not being there now.

“I spoke to a couple of the other celebs, like Joe Plant, and he also said he couldn’t imagine not doing it.

“Hopefully after Covid and once people can mix again, we can maybe meet up and just go to a rink and have fun without the added intensity of the show.”

The Olympian has trained hard for the competition, but she insists she wants to make viewers at home smile above all.

She said: “It’s nice to know that people at home enjoy watching us, that was one thing that we really wanted to focus on in the performance and making people smile, especially this year as it’s been such a tough year for everyone – if we can just bring a smile to people at home then we’ll be happy.

“Everyone has been so supportive of us and it’s been really sweet to read everything, we were speechless after the show and so grateful that we’d got through everything.”